Old Masters Rock

Old Masters Rock

How to Look at Art with Children

Enjoying art is all about responding to what you are seeing. Parents often lack confidence about how to look at art with children, however, there is no magic secret and there are no right or wrong answers.  Old Masters Rock: How to Look at Art with Children demystifies western art and demonstrates that it is accessible to all of us – adults and children alike.

Old Masters Rock is a book for parents and children to look at together. It introduces the type of questions that help us discover things about a work of art and how we feel about it. Whether you are an adult or a child curiosity should be your starting point as it reveals what interests you in a painting. Features such as ‘Art Detectives’ encourage children to solve clues and 'Fun Facts' help them remember the pictures. Throughout, the emphasis is on looking at the paintings and drawing one’s own conclusions about what one is seeing.

Grouped into thirteen themes such as Animals, the Natural World, Action Heroes, Myth & Magic, Fabulous Faces and others, 50 paintings from the fourteenth century through to the early twentieth century are featured. Different styles, from the early Renaissance, through Baroque, Mannerist, Realist and Impressionist, are included.

Well-known artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein, Rubens, Velasquez, Constable, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh and Munch are featured, as well as less familiar artists who will quickly become favourites.

Maria-Christina Sayn-Wittgenstein Nottebohm (also known as 'Puppa') is a private art dealer and agent specialising in European paintings and drawings from the 17th to the early 20th century. She was brought up in Europe and her parents took her to museums and churches from an early age.  
She has lived in New York her entire adult life, working in the art world. She now divides her time between Mexico City, Telluride, CO, New York and Europe. She has had the privilege of seeing masterpieces in museums and private collections all over the world. Many years of dealing and thinking about art gives her a unique view point. Her blog, Old Masters Rock is an art newsletter for children aged 7-12 years ago (www.oldmastersrock.com).

Gary Tinterow has been Director of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since January 2012. Previously he served as Engelhard Chairman of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern and Contemporary Art at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for twenty years, before becoming curator in charge of the newly formed department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern and Contemporary Art in 2004 and chairman of that department in 2008.

"The best book I've read this year. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the arts."

Financial Times Philip Hewat Jaboor

"A book designed for children and parents to explore together. A fine introduction to Brueghel, Delacroix, Rembrandt and other painters that actively encourages readers to develop visual literacy through observation and imagination."

Publishers Weekly

"Excellent guide to classic art. The aim of the book is to make art accessible and it certainly achieves that. It is written in an easy and accessible style and would be a really useful addition to either a primary or secondary school library."

School Librarian

"Shares a passion for art that will excite young art detectives and adults alike."


"A refreshing look at Old Master paintings for both children and adults."

Leisure Painter

"Handsomely produced . . . an immersive, insight-rich, and accessible curator's talk."

Kirkus Reviews

"Would be a wonderful prelude to a museum visit or a rainy-day excursion in itself."

Wall Street Journal

"Old Masters Rock is a book to look at together, and explains the background and story behind masterpieces of the Renaissance, Baroque, Realist and Impressionist periods, as well as offering kids quirky facts about the artists and their work. The artwork reproductions are gorgeous, too."


“A delightful introduction to Old Master painting, demystifying art history in order to make iconic pictures accessible to children and adults who are justifiably turned off by professional jargon and academic approaches.”

Gary Tinterow, Director, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

“Fresh, original, and captivating, this is a book that I’ll bet many an adult will read on the sly.”

Philippe de Montebello, Former Director of Metropolitan Museum, New York
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
Product Format
275 x 215
Publication Date
Jun 7, 2018
Number of Pages